The 6 Most Baffling Slang Phrases from Around the World

The world is getting smaller every day; there are now 113 million valid U.S. passports in circulation, more than double the total from 10 years ago. It's become a rite of passage for 18-year-olds to backpack across Europe (code for "drink until my graduation money runs out"). There's every chance that you'll one day travel to one of the countries the phrases below originate from; this article is here to help you decipher the more ... nuanced local phrases.

#6. "Flat Out Like a Lizard Drinking" -- Australia

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What It Sounds Like It Means:

OK, let's break this down. Lizards don't traditionally drink alcohol, so "a lizard drinking" must have some sort of substance abuse problem. And "flat out" -- that's a reference to the way they lie flat when they're trying to warm up in the sun, maybe? So it's an alcoholic lizard trying to sleep through the day. It must be a euphemism for a really bad hangover! Nailed it. Those lateral-thinking puzzles from third grade are really starting to pay off.
"Tequila Tuesdays ... never again."

What It Actually Means:

Very busy.

Why It Makes Sense:

"Flat out" is Australian slang for "busy," and the lizard isn't actually drinking Jack Daniels in a smoky blues bar, but rather just, you know, water. Lizards move their tongues very quickly when drinking, which is about as busy as a lizard ever gets. It's their main period of physical activity during the day. The phrase could just as easily be "flat out like an unemployed recent college graduate figuring out what ingredients in the house can be used as nacho toppings."
"You can make cheese from mustard and butter, right?"

#5. "How's Your Father?" -- England

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What It Sounds Like It Means:

How is the man whose sperm provided approximately half your DNA and who wore socks with sandals and taught you all the good swear words? How is that guy? Did he ever finish that book he was writing about the Civil War? Well, great to run into you, give your dad my best. And hey, tell him I said, "That's not my golf club!" He'll know what that means.

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"I do not know what that means."

What It Actually Means:


Why It Makes Sense:

The phrase "How's your father?" was coined, at least in this context, by British comedian Harry Tate in the 1930s. Playing up the infamous British discomfort with all things sexual, confrontational, or vulgar (or, as they're known in America, the Big Three), he would answer any crass statement with a stammered "I ... er ... well ... how's your father?" The Shakespearean phrase "the beast with two backs" was apparently a little too graphic for fragile English sensibilities, so they snapped up this new, even vaguer euphemism with gusto.

The phrase is pretty old-fashioned now, though, so you might want to rely on more current double entendres, such as "having a bit of the old in-and-out," "parking the Plymouth in the garage," or "doin' it real good."

Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images
"Ah, you mean 'the old repeating penile thrusts in the vaginal cavity,
leading to seminal ejaculation into the cervix.' Yeah, I know that."

#4. "A Raisin in the Sausage" -- Norway

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What It Sounds Like It Means:

It's a slang term for an STD for sure. Norwegian super-herpes? The Scandinavian Scandal? The ... having raisins on your dick?

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

What It Actually Means:

A pleasant surprise in something already good.

Why It Makes Sense:

Norway is consistently rated one of the best places to live on Earth. On the Human Development Index, which ranks countries based on life expectancy, education, and income, Norway has topped the list 10 out of the last 12 years. It's a super-country, where every man looks like Thor and every woman looks like the blonde lady from ABBA, and they all have Ph.D.s.

But do not ever, ever try to convince me that Norway is perfect while they still have a phrase that implies that raisins can improve the quality of anything. Raisins are just grapes that no one loved. Raisins have only ever served as a cruel joke at the expense of chocolate chip cookie lovers and as trick-or-treat giveaways for people who hate children. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise has just found a convenient way to get around actually using the word "sociopath" when describing themselves., Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"Two scoops!"

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